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Locating the ephemeral: capturing the fleeting moment in digital arts
by Aleksandra Kaminska
International Journal of Arts and Technology (IJART), Vol. 2, No. 1/2, 2009

 

Abstract: The idea of ephemerality is often used to describe digital art and digital artefacts. The impulse behind this paper is to try to understand what exactly we mean when we refer to ephemerality and suggests how we can locate the ephemeral moment in the material construction of the digital artefact. The problematic division between material/immaterial and software/hardware is revisited through the languages and codes that constitute the basis of software. This paper suggests that we can trace ephemerality to moments of translation, the disjunctures of rhythms between various languages and to the reusability of digital materials. The ephemeral is not just a consequence of an immaterial nature ascribed to digital objects or problems of storage. Rather, it emerges from the very material nature of the digital and occurs in the minutiae of its hidden processes that make transmission and communication possible.

 

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